- The Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS), has endorsed the nomination of Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation ( WTO).
- The ECOWAS has made efforts to rally African countries behind her candidacy, noting her years of managerial experience in top positions of multilateral institutions.
- The ECOWAS also pointed out that since the formation of the WTO, no African has been named the Director-General of the WTO.
The Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS), a regional political and economic union of fifteen West Africa African countries, has expressed its support for Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In a bid towards rallying Africa behind her candidacy, the ECOWAS has urged other African countries to support her.
A press statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria and signed by its spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, read ‘’The Minister of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has endorsed the candidature of Dr, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for the period 2021-2025.’’
‘’The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government endorsed the candidature of Nigeria noting, her long years of managerial experience at the top echelon of multilateral institutions, her reputation as a fearless reformer, her excellent negotiating and political skills, her experience of over 30 years as a developmental economist with a long-standing interest in trade, her excellent academic qualification, her position as Managing Director World Bank, and currently as Board Chair, Gavi, and AU Special Ebnoy to mobilize financial resources for the fight against COVID-19.’’
The regional body noted that since the formation of WTO on January 1, 1995, no African has been named the Director-General of the organisation.
The ECOWAS Chairman, who also serves as the President of Niger Republic, in a signed document, requested other African and non-African countries to support her candidature.
Business Elites Africa had reported earlier, the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala by President Muhammadu Buhari, as the head of WTO, due to the disclosure of the stepping down of the organisation’s current Director-General, Roberto Azevedo, on August 2020, a year ahead of the end of his tenure.
However, Egypt opposed the move, demanding that the nomination of Nigeria be disqualified as it was made after the nomination process had elapsed. Egypt claimed Nigeria’s nomination came in June which was against the November 30, 2019 deadline set by the African Union Executive.
But the WTO stated in a press release that the nomination period for the position actually opened on June 8, 2020 and should end on July 8, 2020.
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